Commodores Platter & Centenary Cup (SS2&3) - Race Report - June 2019

Last Sunday under blue skies and warm winds Clacton Sailing Club held two back-to-back races; the Centenary Cup and the Commodore’s Platter.

Ian and Karl - Centenary Cup 2019

Pictured above: Ian Wright and Karl Bashford, Winners of the Centenary Cup and Commodores Platter.

The general Met Office forecast had failed to consider the effect of the sea breeze which would slowly turn the wind onshore helping to increase to a steady force 4-5 by the afternoon. With each race lasting an hour the day became something of an endurance event with most exhilarated just to finish both races unscathed.

Start signal

The NE wind with the rising tide helped the helms hold their boats on station in the closing seconds before the start signals.

With the windward buoy set with a large bias the pair of Hurricanes and two A. Class catamarans chose to cross on port tack crossing either just ahead or astern of Ian and Karl and Martin & Debbie Chivers who tried to catch them out by crossing with right of way on Starboard in their Dart 18’s.

The fetch out to seaward stretched the fleet but perhaps not as much as should have been expected: fully powered-up the fast cats were chased hard by the Darts.


Here the boats had to make the dreaded bare-away manoeuvre each with their own style: Cautious to start with Pete Boxer sat in early from the trapeze wire on his A.Class whilst Dan Brzezinski, perhaps seeing a chance to over-take, stayed out of the wire driving his identical Tool A.Class hard and fast straight into the first pitch-pole capsize of the day. Over-confidence then tempted Pete Boxer to make the same mistake as he also capsized his A Class at the same windward bare-away mark in the next race.

Short downwind leg

The short downwind leg allowed the Hurricanes to hoist their kites with Larry Foxon / Mike Rolfe chasing Brian Allen / Rob Mitchell down the rolling swells with the Midsummer's Day sunshine in their eyes. However fast the lead boats may have thought they were going they couldn’t shake the pair of Darts off their tale.

Gybing then gunning the cats onto a broad reach the cats would hit their maximum speeds in excess of 20knots. Too tight for the Hurricanes to hold onto their kites their advantage narrowed yet further and spectators were treated to a sight of a convoy of fast-moving beach cats both chasing and being chased in a flurry of spray.


Coming into the downwind buoy the crews had then frantically to set the boats up for the next leg; trimming main sheet traveler, tightening outhaul, mast rotation and downhaul controls then hooking back into the trapeze wires ready to harden-up onto the final beat upwind of the first lap. It was at this point that Rob Mitchel went man-overboard when his trapeze wire failed but was quickly recovered by his helm Brian.

Peter & Helen Lyall sailing their Wanderer dinghy were chuffed to make it round the course staying upright under full sail without having to reef.

Each race would span 3 laps with guest Race Officer of the week Allen Griffiths enjoying the course from vantage point of the club’s balcony.


Ian Wright helming his Dart 18 catamaran with novice crew Karl Bashford would go onto win both races putting them into a commanding lead in the Summer Series. All the more remarkable when you consider Karl’s sailing experience had begun just 4 weeks ago when he started attending the CSC Saturday afternoons ‘Discover Sailing’ training sessions.

Martin and Debbie Chivers also sailing a Dart 18 notched-up well deserved 2nd places in both race and Brian Allen and Rob Mitchell scored 3rd place again in both races.

Opportunities are open at Clacton Sailing Club for people interested in learning to help with Race Officer duties and Rescue Boat crews on the RIBS as well as sailing opportunities as the summer ‘Discover Sailing’ initiatives continue up at the Holland Haven club.


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